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Identifying and Managing Interstitial Cystitis

How Is It Diagnosed?

A diagnosis is made based on:
  • The presence of urinary urgency, urinary frequency, or bladder/pelvic pain
  • Bladder wall inflammation -- including pinpoint bleeding or ulcers -- found by cystoscopy
  • The absence of other diseases that could cause the symptoms.
Diagnostic tests that help in ruling out other diseases include:
  • Cystoscopy
  • Distention of the bladder under anesthesia
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture
  • Biopsy of the bladder wall
  • Urine cytology
  • Laboratory examination of prostate secretions.
(Click Diagnosing Interstitial Cystitis for more information.)

Treating Interstitial Cystitis

There is no interstitial cystitis cure. All doctors can do is try to relieve the symptoms, a challenging task, because they vary from person to person. People may have flare-ups and remissions, and different people respond to different interstitial cystitis treatment. A particular type of treatment may work for a while and then lose its effectiveness. Sometimes, stress or a change of diet triggers symptoms. Occasionally, the disease goes into remission spontaneously.
Treatment options can include:
  • Bladder distention
  • Bladder instillation
  • Medication
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Self-help strategies.
Surgery is considered a treatment of last resort, as it does not necessarily improve symptoms (see Interstitial Cystitis Surgery for more information).

Interstitial Cystitis Information

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